BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
NEIL LENNON insists Dylan McGeouch is in the form of his life after the Hibs playmaker lit up the Edinburgh derby.
The 24-year-old dictated the pace in the heart of midfield against the Jambos and was unlucky not to claim an assist following a sumptuous clipped pass to Martin Boyle in the first period.
He dovetailed superbly with the equally impressive John McGinn as the Hibees overwhelmed their visitors from Gorgie.
The Easter Road gaffer said: “Dylan has had his injury problems but he seems to have those sorted and now he is playing fantastic football. He has always been a real talent and we are starting to see the fruits of what he is really capable of. Him and John McGinn in there are pretty special.
“You always worry about Dylan’s physicality but he is getting stronger and stronger and in the last three or four games he has been playing the best football of his career. He’s been to see a specialist and psychologically is in a good place, and his football has been wonderful.
“Him and McGinn can break the lines brilliantly, which is a real talent in itself, and Dylan’s work-rate has improved immensely and his physicality has improved. We are getting the best out of him and I’m really happy for him, I’m delighted to see it.”
The final cog in Hibs’ impressive midfield trio was Marvin Bartley, who imposed his game, made a few hefty challenges and broke up Hearts’ attacks all night long.
Lennon continued: “Marv relishes these games and it was a no-brainer that he was going to start against Hearts. You can see why we like him so much. He reads the game really well and gives you that physical presence that you need in a derby. He puts his foot in.
“McGinn and McGeouch were sublime, but Marv does all the dirty work.”
There was also praise for on-loan Manchester City winger Brandon Barker who, after a slow start to his Hibs career, has illustrated his blistering pace and quick feet in recent clashes against Celtic and Hearts.
It was his jinking run after four minutes which teed up Simon Murray for the only goal of the game.
Lennon told Hibs TV: “I love him. I’ve admired him for a long time. It was a wee bit stop-start when he first came in, as he hadn’t played a lot of football and was picking up a few niggles, but he is fitter now. He is a real handful, great feet and he gets punters out of their seats. Those are the guys you want.”